Blackhawks

Blackhawks make seven picks in 2015 NHL Draft

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Blackhawks make seven picks in 2015 NHL Draft

SUNRISE, Fla. – Roy Radke had just been drafted by the Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon but he was already well acquainted with several players currently in the system.

“I’m good friends with Ryan Hartman, Anthony Louis, Vinny Hinostroza,” said Radke, who hails from Geneva, about an hour west of Chicago. “I grew up with all of those guys.”

The number of NHL prospects who either grew up near Chicago or who played in Chicago-area leagues is increasing, and the Blackhawks added another to their group when they drafted Radke with their sixth-round (164th overall) selection on Saturday. Mark Kelley, the Blackhawks’ senior director of amateur scouting, said it’s not necessarily the team’s plan to take kids from the area. It’s just those local kids have filled needs the past few years.

“I think what it’s really a product of us so many good players are coming from Chicago,” Kelley said.

[MORE HAWKS: Blackhawks trade G Antti Raanta to Rangers for F Ryan Haggerty]

And the Blackhawks aren’t the only team taking notice of Chicago-area kids. The Arizona Coyotes drafted Christian Fischer of Wayne, also about an hour from Chicago, with the 32nd overall pick.

“The youth program’s taken off there tremendously, and a lot is [due to] the Blackhawks,” Fischer said. “The kids go to the games, they see the whole deal there and they want to play. They have four travel teams there, a lot of guys coming in from Chicago. I think the Hawks have a lot to do with that.”

Radke is new to the Blackhawks organization but he’s already among friends, thanks to Chicago’s burgeoning hockey scene.

“Since Chicago’s been so good recently, a lot of young kids have been trying to play hockey in the area. That’s why it’s expanding so much,” Radke said. “I’ve always loved the Blackhawks, so it’s a dream come true.”

SIZEABLE DRAFT

The Blackhawks got a little bit of everything from everywhere at Day 2 of the NHL Draft.

“This year we have a Slovakian, a Finnish kid, a Swedish kid, a Chicago kid, a Buffalo kid, a Boston kid,” Kelley said. “There’s seven of them, so it’s a United Nations.”

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All locations aside, the Blackhawks were happy with their draft, which didn’t begin until Saturday morning when they selected Ontario native Graham Knott with the 54th overall (second-round) pick.

Knott had 25 goals and 18 assists in 59 games with the Niagara IceDogs (OHL) in 2014-15. The Blackhawks took four forwards and three defensemen. They also acquired something else that they’ve been lacking: size. Five of their picks are 6-foot-2 or taller.

“Any time you get size it’s nice,” Kelley said. “We’re always looking for players we think are smart and can skate. I think this year those guys are big, also.”

Rounds Player Position Country Amateur League Amateur Team
Round 2, 54th overall pick Graham Knott LW Canada OHL Niagara
Round 3, 91st overall pick Dennis Gilbert D United States USHL Chicago
Round 4, 121st overall pick Ryan Shea D United States HIGH-MA Boston College H.S.
Round 5, 151st overall pick Radovan Bondra RW Slovakia SLOVAKIA Kosice
Round 6, 164th overall pick Roy Radke RW United States OHL Barrie
Round 6, 181st overall pick Joni Tuulola D Finland FINLAND HPK
Round 7, 211th overall pick John Dahlstrom RW Sweden SWEDEN-JR. Frolunda Jr.

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

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AP

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.

Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.

So who are these guys? Let's meet them:

Carlsson

Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.

Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”

Kahun

The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.

He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.

“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.

Lankinen 

Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.

He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.

This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.

Raddysh

The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.

Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.

Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

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AP

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.

"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."

Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.

The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.

The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.

The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.

And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.

The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.

In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.